Archive for December, 2013

12th December
written by Arthur

Dear Readers,

I would like to formally add the Dalmore Paterson Collection to my Christmas list.  The Paterson Collection is the masterpiece of a lifetime, comprised of twelve unique whiskies from the visionary Richard Paterson, Master Distiller of The Dalmore. The collection is housed within a magnificent bespoke cabinet, along with twelve handcrafted crystal decanters, each adorned with a sterling silver collar and stag. These works of art are accompanied by Paterson’s own handwritten ledger, offering a rare insight into his craft.

For my American readers struggling on the math, the modest £987,500.00 price tag translates nicely to approximately $1,600,000.

I promise a post on each of the 12 whiskies!

Best Regards,


11th December
written by Arthur

Slate recently had  an interesting article on the (de)merits of garlic. It captures how I’ve always felt about the stuff–it’s not a substitute for fresh garlic, but has its own place in the kitchen.  The article elaborates:

[G]arlic powder acts like glue behind glitter, adding a subtle fullness of flavor that may be more difficult to detect, but nonetheless makes the meal taste better. Like MSG, garlic powder may not be specifically discernable, but in a side-by-side comparison, the otherwise identical dish with added garlic powder will win… I often find myself adding fresh garlic at both the beginning and end of meal prep, and sprinkling powder in the middle. The trick is never to add so much that someone could say, “I taste garlic powder.”

The author goes on to suggest making your own garlic powder. While that sounds fun and all, I’m going to be sticking with my store bought stuff for the near future.

10th December
written by Arthur

This morning, in an unusual pre-dawn move, I flicked on the television. I found myself watching the ceremonies and speeches commemorating Nelson Mandela. The memorial reminded me of an unusual connection I have to the great revolutionary and political leader.

In the summer of 2001, I found myself outside of Washington, DC working in concession stands of Wolf Trap National Park. The park boasts a large open air stage and hosts regular nightly concerts. I severed-up snacks, beer, and wine to the fine concert goers. In my first week, I struggled to open a bottle of red wine–only the fourth or fifth bottle I had ever tried to open–and succeed in breaking the cork and polluting the wine. I didn’t know what I was doing. The patron was patient. He told me not to worry. That he’d buy the bottle I’d corked and to bring two more bottles. As he used one of the bottles to show me how to open wine, he told me how he learned to open bottle of wine. My customer had just started working in room service in a fine hotel in South Africa and was called up to a room to deliver and open a $600 bottle of wine. Entering the hotel room he finds Nelson Mandela on the day of his release from prison. In front of Mandela and his guests my instructor breaks the cork of the bottle as he attempted to open it. Mandela calmly told the man not worry, that he’d buy the corked bottle, to bring two more bottles, and proceed to show the server how to open a bottle of wine. After showing me how to open a bottle of wine, my customer talked me through opening the second bottle.

If the story was a lie it was a well told and oddly placed one. I believe it was true. I believe in the image of the great man who changed the course of nations moving through the world with a individual grace and kindness that boarders mythological. I remember that Nelson Mandela embodies both fiery revolutionary and wise statesman.

9th December
written by Arthur

I’ve spent the last few days wandering, eating, and drinking my way around the New York City with my mother. Knowing her love of all things Italian, I ended our first full day in the city with a stop at Eataly. Rather than battle the masses in Eataly for an adult beverage, we opted for comfortable seats at its rooftop restaurant/brewery Bierreria. Our thoughts started with wine, but quickly progressed to beer as we perused the menu. The fine selection of Dogfish Head brews jumped out at me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: those guys are are insanely committed to beer.


Red and White

Dogfish Head Red & White

This guy is a Belgian-style witbier fermented with pinot noir juice. So what is a witbier? Here in the good ol’ US of A it is often called white beer. Common white beers are Blue Moon, Hooegaaden, Shock Top, and Allagash White.  My usual thought is ick or meh.  But I trust Dogfish Head to at least give me something interesting if not loved. And they went nuts and threw in that pinot noir juice and we already had wine on the brain.

Appearance: Not nearly as red as expected. A dirty golden amber.

Smell: Light and bright. Citrus and yeast.

Taste: Yeast, orange zest, and tart citrus. Some spices hiding in the mix.

Mouth: Medium and smooth.

Overall: Delicious. I would love to try this on a summer day rather than a cool December one.


Birra Etrusca Bronze

Birra Etrusca Bronze - Dogfish HeadAgain, the mad geniuses at Dogfish Head have recreated an ancient brew. In the words of the Dogfish Head website:

To develop the recipe for Birra Etrusca Bronze, Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione traveled to Rome with molecular archaeologist Dr. Pat McGovern. With the help of Birreria Brother Brewers Leo DeVencenzo of Birra del Borgo and Teo Musso of Baladin, they analyzed drinking vessels found in 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs…The backbone of Birra Etrusca comes from two-row malted barley and an heirloom Italian wheat. Specialty ingredients include hazelnut flour, pomegranates, Italian chestnut honey, Delaware wildflower honey and clover honey. A handful of whole-flower hops are added, but the bulk of the bitterness comes from gentian root and the sarsaparilla-like Ethiopian myrrh resin. 

In addition to Dogfish themselves, Birra del Borgo and Baladin also brewed a version of Birra Etrusca.  Dogfish will used bronze, Baladin will wood, and Birra del Borgo used terra cotta. So much thought and love.

Appearance: Copper/amber.

Smell:  What? What?! So not clear what’s going on here. You smell some of the honey and pomegranate through layers of herb, wood, earth, and resin.

Taste: Wow. Every sip is different. Sometimes the honey is the star, sometimes it’s an earth feeling, sometimes it tastes like Christmas, sometimes it tastes like a cathedral at high mass, sometimes it’s raisins, very often the hazelnut boldly jumps in.

Mouth: Mouthy with some syrup.

Overall: Like some other Dogfish Head ancient brews, this is an adventure not an every day drink. Every sip and smell is surprise. Bravo Dogfish–keep these things coming. Even if you don’t love it, you gotta try it.